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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
0684824906
October 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
The life and times of Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln biography? In Team of Rivals, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some familiar territory, her perspective is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and humiliated at...


Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam
H. R. McMaster
0060929081
January 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
For years the popular myth surrounding the Vietnam War was that the Joint Chiefs of Staff knew what it would take to win but were consistently thwarted or ignored by the politicians in power. Now H. R. McMaster shatters this and other misconceptions about the military and Vietnam in Dereliction of Duty. Himself a West Point graduate, McMaster painstakingly waded through every memo and report concerning Vietnam from every meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to build a comprehensive picture of a house divided against itself: a president and his coterie of advisors obsessed with keeping Vietnam from becoming a political issue versus the Joint Chiefs themselves, mired in interservice rivalries and unable to reach any unified goals or conclusions about the country's conduct in the war. McMaster stresses two elements in his...


The River of Doubt
Candice Millard
0385507968
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In a gripping account, Millard focuses on an episode in Teddy Roosevelt's search for adventure that nearly came to a disastrous end. A year after Roosevelt lost a third-party bid for the White House in 1912, he decided to chase away his blues by accepting an invitation for a South American trip that quickly evolved into an ill-prepared journey down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon known as the River of Doubt. The small group, including T.R.'s son Kermit, was hampered by the failure to pack enough supplies and the absence of canoes sturdy enough for the river's rapids. An injury Roosevelt sustained became infected with flesh-eating bacteria and left the ex-president so weak that, at his lowest moment, he told Kermit to leave him to die in the rainforest. Millard, a former staff writer for National Geographic, nails the...



Andrew Jackson
H. W. Brands
0385507380
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Historian Brands, author of the bestselling The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, now turns to Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), illuminating both the mettle of a fascinating leader and the crucible in which American democracy was forged. A military hero during the War of 1812 and winner of the popular presidential vote in 1824 (he lost the election in Congress), Jackson won the office handily in 1828. Brands argues that the populist Jackson changed the very nature of the presidency, vetoing more bills than all six of his predecessors combined; thwarting the bank of the United States; and in a dramatic test of wills, preparing for civil war when South Carolina threatened to secede over tariffs. He died at the age of 78, just days after learning that Texas would join the...


My Life
Bill Clinton
0375414576
June 2004
Hardcover
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Book Review
An exhaustive, soul-searching memoir, Bill Clinton's My Life is a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband, and public figure. Clinton painstakingly outlines the history behind his greatest successes and failures, including his dedication to educational and economic reform, his war against a "vast right-wing operation" determined to destroy him, and the "morally indefensible" acts for which he was nearly impeached. My Life is autobiography as therapy--a personal history written by a man trying to face and banish his private demons. Clinton approaches the story of his youth with gusto, sharing tales of giant watermelons, nine-pound tumors, a charging ram, famous mobsters and jazz musicians, and a BB gun standoff. He offers an equally energetic portrait of...


No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
Doris Kearns Goodwin
0684804484
October 1995
Paperback
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Amazon.com
A compelling chronicle of a nation and its leaders during the period when modern America was created. With an uncanny feel for detail and a novelist's grasp of drama and depth, Doris Kearns Goodwin brilliantly narrates the interrelationship between the inner workings of the Roosevelt White House and the destiny of the United States. Goodwin paints a comprehensive, intimate portrait that fills in a historical gap in the story of our nation under the Roosevelts.

From Publishers Weekly
Goodwin's account of the Roosevelt presidency during WWII highlights America's changing domestic front. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Editorial Reviews


Profiles in Courage
John F. Kennedy
0060544392
June 2004
Paperback
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From AudioFile
In 1954-55 a freshman U.S. Senator from Massachusetts wrote a book profiling eight of his historical Senatorial colleagues, such men as John Quincy Adams, Sam Houston, and Robert A. Taft. Instead of focusing on their storied careers, John F. Kennedy chose to illustrate their acts of integrity, when they stood alone against tremendous political and social pressure for what they felt was right. This abridged audio is introduced by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and the text is read admirably by the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. There is a sense of family legacy and pride about the president's children taking part in the project. At some point, however, one aches to hear the distinctive voice of JFK himself. That wish is fulfilled superbly on the fourth CD, which includes three speeches written and delivered by Kennedy while...


His Excellency
Joseph J. Ellis
1400032539
Nov 2005
Paperback
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Review
" [Ellis has done it again. This is an important and challenging work: beautifully written, lively, serious and engaging.” –The Boston Globe

“Absorbing. . . . An incisive portrait [that] eloquently conveys the magnitude of Washington’s accomplishments.” –The New York Times


“Absolutely fascinating. . . . Underscores how extraordinary Washington’s accomplishments really were.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“Lively and engaging. . . . An accessible portrait. . . . Ellis writes simply but eloquently. His prose is lucid, graceful and witty, his book is hard to put down. . . . Should be required reading.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review

Book Description
To...


President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination
Richard Reeves
0743230221
December 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Celebrated journalist Reeves (President Nixon: Alone in the White House) takes the same vivid, fly-on-the-wall approach he's previously applied with such success to Nixon and Kennedy, and uses it just as skillfully to take us inside the administration, mind and character of Ronald Reagan. As usual, Reeves's omniscient form of narrative requires him to delve deeply into oral histories and other first-person accounts from key participants, mining them for details concerning scores of meetings, negotiations, pranks and tragedies. Reeves is particularly strong at portraying Reagan's almost organically intuitive approach to management. Here we have the Gipper's artful delegation of details along the road to fulfilling his short list of grand goals: the destruction of world communism, the...


John Adams
David McCullough
0743223136
September 2002
Paperback
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Book Review's Best of 2001
Left to his own devices, John Adams might have lived out his days as a Massachusetts country lawyer, devoted to his family and friends. As it was, events swiftly overtook him, and Adams--who, David McCullough writes, was "not a man of the world" and not fond of politics--came to greatness as the second president of the United States, and one of the most distinguished of a generation of revolutionary leaders. He found reason to dislike sectarian wrangling even more in the aftermath of war, when Federalist and anti-Federalist factions vied bitterly for power, introducing scandal into an administration beset by other difficulties--including pirates on the high seas, conflict with France and England, and all the public controversy attendant in building a nation.

Overshadowed by the lustrous presidents...



An Hour Before Daylight
Jimmy Carter
0743211995
Oct 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
Born on October 1, 1924, Jimmy Carter grew up on a Georgia farm during the Great Depression. In An Hour Before Daylight, the former president tells the story of his rural boyhood, and paints a sensitive portrait of America before the civil rights movement.

Carter describes--in glorious, if sometimes gory, detail--growing up on a farm where everything was done by either hand or mule: plowing fields, "mopping" cotton to kill pests, cutting sugar cane, shaking peanuts, or processing pork. He also describes the joys of walking barefoot ("this habit alone helped to create a sense of intimacy with the earth"), taking naps with his father on the porch after lunch, and hunting with slingshots and boomerangs with his playmates--all of whom were black. Carter was in constant contact with his black neighbors; he worked...



John Adams
David McCullough
0684813637
May 2001
Hardcover
·
 
Book Review's Best of 2001
Left to his own devices, John Adams might have lived out his days as a Massachusetts country lawyer, devoted to his family and friends. As it was, events swiftly overtook him, and Adams--who, David McCullough writes, was "not a man of the world" and not fond of politics--came to greatness as the second president of the United States, and one of the most distinguished of a generation of revolutionary leaders. He found reason to dislike sectarian wrangling even more in the aftermath of war, when Federalist and anti-Federalist factions vied bitterly for power, introducing scandal into an administration beset by other difficulties--including pirates on the high seas, conflict with France and England, and all the public controversy attendant in building a nation.

Overshadowed by the lustrous presidents...



James Madison: (The American Presidents Series)
Garry Wills
0805069054
April 2002
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
It's tough to write a compelling biography of Madison: though a great politician, he was also a provincial, cerebral and slightly dull man; any account of his life must contain the kinds of dry legislation the Non-Intercourse Act, Macon's Bill Number 2, for example that have driven generations of history students to distraction. But Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Wills does as good a job as possible in this brief volume, the latest addition to a series on the nation's presidents edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. With prior studies of Washington, Jefferson and other Framers (including Madison) under his belt, Wills is well acquainted with his subject and balanced in his assessments. Madison, "this unimpressive little man with libraries in his brain," was the "Father of the Constitution" and the nation's fourth...


President Nixon: Alone in the White House
Richard Reeves
0641670176

Paperback
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The Survivor
John F. Harris
0375508473
May 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
The Survivor is the rare book with positive recommendations from both liberal historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Brit Hume of the Fox News Channel. The author, John F. Harris--who covered the Clinton presidency as a political reporter at The Washington Post for six years--finds the perfect balance for his subject, writing with point-blank frankness about Clinton's impressive strengths and many weaknesses and painting an utterly fair portrait of one of the most charismatic and enigmatic political figures of the last 50 years. Harris at times is harsher to Clinton than many of the president's critics were and at other times, as in the case of his impeachment, is far kinder. He occasionally editorializes on the motivations of the Clintons, that ultimate power couple: why their marriage was not (despite public opinion) a...


Lincoln's Melancholy
Joshua Wolf Shenk
0618551166
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Abe the Emancipator, argues Washington Monthly contributor Shenk, struggled with persistent clinical depression. The first major bout came in his 20s, and the disease dogged him for the rest of his life. That Lincoln suffered from "melancholy" isn't new. Shenk's innovation is in saying, first, that this knowledge can be illuminated by today's understanding of depression and, second, that our understanding of depression can be illuminated by the knowledge that depression was actually a source of Lincoln's greatness. Lincoln's strategies for dealing with it are worth noting today: at least once, he took a popular pill known as the "blue mass"—essentially mercury—and also once purchased cocaine. Further, Lincoln's famed sense of humor, suggests Shenk, may have been compensatory, and he also took refuge...


Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Edmund Morris
0375756787
November 2001
Paperback
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From AudioFile
Keeping the same narrator who was used for Morris's THEODORE REX (the book describing Roosevelt's years as president) helps fans maintain continuity. TR was a complex and contradictory genius of a man not easily understood in today's more politically correct atmosphere. Reader Harry Chase helps this process by bringing out the compassion and "enthusiastic rambunctiousness" that mere words or photos can never quite get across. Theodore Roosevelt was a bellicose man who won a Nobel Peace Prize, a great nature conservationist who loved to hunt, a bull moose of a man who liked nothing better than to get down on his hands and knees to play with his children. All of this is brought adroitly alive by Chase's marvelous reading. In many ways more interesting and informative as to the makeup of this amazing man than even THEODORE...

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